Pros and Cons of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid SUV

A new hybrid SUV entered the market for the 2021 model year, and it quickly grabbed the attention of many. The Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid is an SUV that fits perfectly between the Tucson and Palisade giving owners five seats for their passengers. What makes this SUV so intriguing? Can the hybrid version of the Santa Fe be the right SUV for you to drive? Let’s explore.

Hyundai got a lot right with the 2021 Santa Fe Hybrid

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid tearing up a dirt road
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid | Hyundai

The name suggests this SUV is fuel-efficient, and Kelley Blue Book tells us that is true. The Santa Fe Hybrid averages 34 mpg, which is impressive for a compact SUV that ventures close to the midsize range. Pricing begins at $33,650, placing this Hyundai at an affordable pace, especially when you account for the Federal Tax Credit. The hybrid version of the Santa Fe is impressive enough to be named the Best Buy for its class by Kelley Blue Book.

Overall, this is an SUV that does a lot right. You’ll find a pleasant driving experience, the technology desire, and a long list of safety features. In fact, the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid SUV is so safe it receives top crash-test scores from both the NHTSA and IIHS.

What don’t we like about this Hyundai SUV?

Quartz White 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe driving on moutainous terrain
Quartz White 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe | Hyundai

According to Cars.com, there are a few things you might not appreciate when you drive this hybrid SUV.

Limited trim stopping point

The Santa Fe Hybrid only reaches the Limited trim, leaving hybrid drives out of the Calligraphy class. This means you will not have top-shelf features if you make this the SUV you’ll drive every day.

Lowered towing capacity

The story is the same with many hybrids; towing drops when a hybrid powertrain is doing the work. The Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid, decreases the tow rating to 2,000 pounds compared to 3,500 pounds for the gasoline-only models.

Meaningless drive modes

The point of a hybrid SUV is to save fuel. This factor will make you wonder why Hyundai included an Eco and Sport mode in this SUV. Switch between the two and see if you can figure out a difference; we sure can’t.

Wired or not?

Someone at Hyundai didn’t get things organized very well. The 10.25-inch infotainment screen is nice, and it gives you the connectivity you want, but not the wireless version. However, if you select a model with the 8.0-inch touchscreen, you’ve got wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It gets worse. Systems with wireless technology do not have wireless charging, but those with wired connectivity do; does that make sense to anyone?

No third-row for you

The Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid seating is limited to five passengers across two rows. This SUV traditionally offers a third-row seat, but not the 2021 hybrid model. If you need more seats, look to the gasoline-only version.

What do we like about the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid SUV?

The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe on the road
2019 Hyundai Santa Fe | Hyundai

Fuel mileage is right on

Your fuel mileage can reach 36 city/31 hwy/34 combined mpg, depending on the trim and equipment you have in your SUV. This is excellent for a vehicle of this size. You’ll be glad to save money at the gas pump with this hybrid Santa Fe.

Impressive power in a fuel-sipping hybrid SUV

The combination of a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, 1.49-kWh battery pack, and 59- horsepower electric motor makes a total of 226 horsepower for the Santa Fe Hybrid. That’s an impressive number for an SUV that’s good on gas. All that power routes to the wheels through a six-speed automatic (no CVT here), giving you impressive acceleration when you need it.

Regenerative braking feels natural in this Hyundai

Many hybrid vehicles take some getting used to because the regenerative braking system doesn’t feel natural. Drivers using this system might wonder if the vehicle will stop at all. You won’t have that problem in the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid. This regen system feels nearly as natural as the brakes for the gasoline model.

Standard AWD

There, we said it; you’ll have standard AWD in this SUV, making it a superb vehicle to drive.

Affordable price

As mentioned, the starting price for this Hyundai SUV is affordable, putting it in the same range as some compact models. You won’t feel that you’ve spent too much to drive this hybrid.

Should you drive the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid SUV?

When a vehicle wins awards, we should stop and pay attention to what that model offers. The Santa Fe Hybrid SUV brings plenty of positive qualities to your driving experience. If you want a five-seat hybrid SUV, it can be an excellent vehicle for you. If you need more seating or you want the availability of a higher trim level than the Limited version of the Santa Fe, you’ll want to leave this hybrid SUV out of consideration.

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